Brewery Hoppers: The Ultimate Microbrewery Tour of LA
Asking for the best breweries in Los Angeles is like asking for the best chocolate in Switzerland. The Golden State produces about 3,285,525 barrels of craft beer every year, according to the Brewers Association—that’s three and a half barrels for each Californian. In LA, the tasting rooms have sprouted up like hops from the northernmost reaches of the Valley all the way down to West Adams, so you can’t even blame rush hour traffic for missing out on these microbrewery hotspots.
Highland Park Brewery
1220 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Up until 2014, the Hermosillo on the now-hopping (pun fully intended ) York Boulevard in Highland Park was still a divey escort club. In 2019, the Hermosillo’s pinup-inspired sign remains, but the building—decked out with yellow leather booths and an addicting ring-flinging game—is home to the ever-vibrant Highland Park Brewery.
A full gastropub menu accents a rotating beer selection that focuses on local ingredients, experimental processes, and quirky microbes, with hazy coconut India pale ales (among others), dry-hopped pilsner and Schwarzbier dotting the lineup. If you can’t make it to Highland Park, there’s also a tasting room in Chinatown.
Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room
22755 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90505
Everyone knows that LA is home to a cornucopia of food and culture, but many of the real gems lie just off the beaten path.
Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room in Torrance impresses with nano-brews, such as a Belgian dark strong ale (Muscles From Brussels) replete with plum and caramel notes and the rich, nutty HNC Chocolate Stout, but what really sets it apart from the mainstream is its DIY brewing. That’s right: You can make your own beer here. Under the expert guidance of a Zymurgy brewmaster (who supplies the ingredients and instructions), you can craft your own 5-to-10-gallon batch for somewhere between $165 and $290, either solo or as a group, complete with custom labels ready to top off the brewing and bottling experience.
Yorkshire Square Brewery
1109 Van Ness Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501
Bringing a slice of the UK to Torrance, Gary Croft’s Yorkshire Square Brewery wears its stalwart dedication to traditional “real ales” on its sleeve with authentic British beer for a hardcore focus on thick, hearty real cask ale. Their low-alcohol Alpha Papa English pale ale is good for casual sipping, while the Strongest Possible Language label, an extra special bitter, might just invert your mouth. It’s little wonder Thrillist called this microbrewery the most underrated in the entire state in 2019.
3411 W El Segundo Boulevard, Hawthorne, CA 90250
Don’t count out South Bay, and don’t let the 405 scare you from visiting Common Space. The name of this Hawthorne microbrewery reflects its focus on community-building events like local comedy nights, March Madness brackets, and celebrations of International Women’s Day. If the events get you showing up at Common Space, the beer will make you stay. You'll find a Belgian Dubbel and nitro stout, but don’t leave without trying the spicy and unique Jasmine Rice Saison, made with white pepper yeast and featuring notes of lychee and rice crackers to bring you down from the heat.
Dry River Brewing
671 S Anderson Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023
No, you’re not stuck in a fragrant forest or a field of opulent flowers—you’re just at Dry River Brewing in Pico Gardens, a stone’s throw away from the Downtown Arts District and budding Boyle Heights.
Self-described “makers of slow beer,” Dry River specializes in botanical brewmaking, fermenting wort and house-made yeast in oaken wine barrels. True to their farmhouse stylings, you’ll pick up on exotic notes like hibiscus and sea salt in their Lady Roja, black raspberries and cocoa in their Morena, and strangely nutty lemon rinds in their Para Sol Old World-style table sour.
341b South Avenue 17, Los Angeles, CA 90031
There’s no debate that LA craft beer is alive and well on the East Side, but Wiretap Brewing is here to argue the point even further. With only two India pale ales on their main production line, Wiretap escapes the typical IPA saturation in favor of spotlighting stuff like German-style Kolsch, English stout, and Czech pilsner. The headliner here is their distinctly Angelino Mexican strong ale, Luchador, which drinks like a cross between Mexican lager and Belgian ale.
Eagle Rock Brewery
3056 Roswell Street, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Weirdly enough, Eagle Rock Brewery isn’t actually in Eagle Rock—it’s tucked away east of Atwater in Glassell Park. If you want to drink Eagle Rock beer in the heart of the neighborhood, the Eagle Rock Brewery Public House is your ticket, but that’s more of a tapas-focused gastropub scene. At the brewery itself, you’ll find a quieter experience patronized by local enthusiasts (and local food trucks).
Eagle Rock’s core beers can be found in stores throughout LA, with the coriander-infused Manifesto Belgian Witbier and sharp, piney Populist American IPA leading the pack. IPA still prevails seasonally, but Eagle Rock's Woodwork Project is not to be missed if you’re into barrel-aged brews, such as La Di Da Di dry-hopped, mixed-culture saison, or a sour blond with pluots and mangos called Zaigermeister. A monthly Women’s Beer Forum completes the neighborhood vibe.
Vast selection is the name of the game when it comes to LA microbreweries—just try not to overindulge in hoppy goodness while working on your summer body.
Written by Dan Ketchum for Knockaround